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building a hydroseeding machine

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by curry, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. curry

    curry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    Ive searched and found that some of you have built your own hydroseed machine. I have considered this but dont know if it would be more of an advantage to buy one for around $2500 (Turbo Turf HS-100). I dont need a big one as I am going to use it on my place(I will hydroseed about 2 acres and time is no big deal) and every once in a while for my costumers. I think I could buy a 200 gallon polly tank, a 4 hp w/ pump, 100 ft of hose w/ nozzles, and agitator, plus the extra little stuff needed for around $1000. I can build my own trailer for nothing as I have all the stuff laying around. Am I missing something on the price? It just seems to me that I can build for a lot cheaper. What is yalls opinion on this. I figured that on my new house it will probably cost me around $1000 to get someone to hydroseed my 2 acres and For just a little more I can build my own and do it myself, plus I have the machine for future use.
  2. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 488

    You'll need more than 4HP to hydroseed properly. Agitation is extremely important. I'll never own another machine that doesn't have mechanical agitation.

    Better see some machines that work and look them over well. A good 400 gal plus machine, without trailer is close to 10 grand, hard to beleive you could build one for a thousand. Also 200 gal will take you a long time filling all the time.

    Austreim Landscaping
  3. curry

    curry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    Ive noticed that Turbo turfs small unit only uses a 3.5. I agree that a 200 gallon will be time consuming filling but I dont care about time on my own yard and I may do 2-3 a year for my costumers so I can absorb the added time. Im just thinking about this since I need it on my place and it will ezpand my business. I agree with you Doug, I have to be missing something about the price. I am going to the Tractor Supply Store today to start pricing some of the stuff. If I need a larger engine than a 4hp what size should I use. The Turbo Turf is supposed to be a good brand (from reading posts here) so I dont know why they would put this engine on if its not enough. The price would dramatically increase if I needed a larger engine(8hp or above)
  4. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 488

    Engine size is really related to the pump that is chosen. Remember you are pumping a thick slurry, so you need the appropriate pump that can handle it. Also depends on what type of mulch you are going to use. Our original machine was designed for paper mulch, but the specs on most of the govt jobs that we get require all wood. We learned after buying our first machine that as we got more work, we needed more capacity. Usually if there is enough work to justify investing in a new machine, you need to invest for growth. If something catches on, usually you will develop more work as you go along.

    I know I would be several thousand dollars ahead right now, if we had originally bought the machine we have now, rather than the smaller hydraulic agitation machine that we did at first. Even now, I further question whether I should have bought an even bigger machine than the one we have now.

  5. Awilkinson

    Awilkinson LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 96

    some way to save the cost of that engine would be to get something used. there are some really good ones out there on bad mowers. this would make it more cost affective and once you have some proffits rolling in you could always replace it with a new one.
  6. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 860

    There are some advantages to starting out with a more modest, jet agitated machine. Then if your market proves promising for the service, be prepared to upgrade to a paddle unit quickly.

    That shouldn't be a problem assuming you're generating positive revenue streams from the initial unit. That unit never becomes obsolete for a variety of reasons so essentially you would have two field ready units with seperate daily assignments.

    For example, I really like upselling my residential customers to follow up watering, which is perfect for say, a three hundred gallon jet unit.

    That all makes sense so what's the most important considerations? In my opinion, a decent capacity...not too big or small, and a good size pump and engine so you can at least run up to 50% wood if the job requires.

    We sell a lot of 'minis' to new home owners with maybe an acre or two to do and time is usually not an issue. Don't expect economic efficiency with a mini (50 to 150 gallon) but they will get the job done.
  7. Sean Gassman

    Sean Gassman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    Two acers should cost you more than $1000.00 in materials. It should be closer to $4000.00. Also, if you are only doing 2-3 jobs, find a good sub-contractor. Make some money without the overhead. Make sure you have work before investing the money. No one can afford having equipment not making money. Learn about the process before you cost yourself more than a $1000.00 in upset customers.

    I have never heard of building a unit for as cheap as you are saying but I have never looked into it either. If saving money is what you are after, just drill seed or broadcast your own property, since your time is not valuable, it will take you several tries. Is the two acers irrigated? If not, don't seed more than you can water. I am guessing you will plant bermuda. This can't be seeded without heavy mulch until after May 1 and will need to be kept moist every day until mowing...... 4-8 weeks! Good luck, but I would recommend more research, finding a good sub-contractor, and building your market before the equipment is purchased.... built or what ever you decide to do. If you would like to see a variety of machines the Hydro Turf Planters Association is having is 4th Annual Conference and Exhibit in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi April 24-26. Finn, Bowie, Turfmaker, Turbo Turf, Easy Lawn, Kincaid, and other machines will be there.

    check out the web site www.htpa.org
  8. micromike

    micromike LawnSite Member
    from SW/PA
    Posts: 38


    I too have reserached building my own jet machine for my own use and perhaps for some side job lawn installs. What you propose is very doable if you are a handy kind of guy and enjoy fabrication and can take the time to research it well.

    Do a google search on "hydroseeding questions" and look for other sites that can answer your questions. You will be surprised at what is out there especially if you picked the fourth site down, hint, hint. There are other people who have done exactly what you want to do and have been very happy with the results. They are very happy to share their information and research with you. And, there are many people who are perfectly happy with the results of paper mulch as opposed to 100% wood mulch. My research indicates BOTH have positives and negatives and either may be appropriate, depending on your desired outcome.

    Good Luck

  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    with 1200 lbs mulch per acre, tack, fert, good fescue seed, I am coming up at 1.4 cents per square ft on costs. x 80000 square feet, is 1120. you could actuall do cheap ky. 31 fescue, annual rye, and add some locking fibers and use blue goo and it comes out at 1.41 cents.

    don't try to build your own. I did. it will not work. just find a cheap used one like I did and enjoy life. I have seen other ones out there with trailer that go for $1500-3000 used.

    Dave g
  10. Sean Gassman

    Sean Gassman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    1200 lbs per acer is not even the industries recommended minimum which is 1500lbs. For quality work to stand up to our weather the minimum mulch should be more like 2,000 lbs per acer. I spray all of my jobs at 2500-2750 lbs per acer, wood mulch or at a bare minimum 70/30. Fescue will work only under certain conditions and KY 31 will not last in Texas at all. Bermuda is the most common grass grown. Sprayed in the Spring will take 4-8 weeks before mowing.

    Also, Two acers is not 80,000 SF.... its 87,120 SF. Minimum material cost at the minimum recommend for this area (2,000 lbs per acer) for a new contractor would be in the neighborhood of $0.0178 = $1,550.00. This does not include water cost, meter cost, gas, labor, over head, warrantee, etc. only direct material cost. Curry is estimating he could get a contractor to do the job for $1,000.00 and for a little more he could build a machine. I guess I didn't make it clear that I was saying it should be about $4,000.00 to hire someone to do the job.

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